Watch: GMB debates merits of Emma Thompson wearing a fat suit for Matilda
Emma Thompson has received backlash for wearing a prosthetic fat suit in a new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
In the newly released trailer for Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, the Love Actually star is unrecognisable as Agatha Trunchbull, the cruel headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School.
In a segment on GMB, comedian Freddy Quinne went head to head over the row with the star of Peckham’s Finest, Queen Mojo.
Mojo said that being overweight can be a ‘difficult experience’ that a fat suit cannot replicate while Quinne argued that casting a seasoned actress like Thompson, ‘who specialises in children’s films’ in the role should be the priority and not hiring based on size.
He also pointed out that Trunchbull is a fictional character, and compared it to Daniel Radcliffe playing a wizard. He added: “Personally, for me it’s what actors do. They put on a costume to play a particular role.”
When host Richard Madeley asked about the argument that the fat suit could be depriving an overweight actor of work, Mojo responded: “Why can’t we have representation through all the different sub-categories? [As Thompson is not overweight, she’s] not carrying the extra pain of why she is this big…”
Metro columnist Emmie Harrison-West had started the original debate on Twitter pointing out the many times Thompson has donned fat suits in films, including her role as Karen in Love Actually.
She wrote: “Fat suits have been so normalised that some people probably haven’t even noticed – and that is what is so frustrating…
“You know, the presumably size 16, ‘frumpy’, comfortable-shoe-and-floor-length-skirt-wearing middle-aged wife that was inevitably cheated on?
“As a bigger woman, I find this caricaturisation of my body type utterly dehumanising, and degrading. It’s not ethical, authentic or representative of any lived experiences whatsoever.”
Others echoed her sentiment online.
“Really disheartening to see such a beautiful woman having to go to such measures for a role,” wrote one.
“Honestly, I thought we were getting more progressive as a society. But this is just backwards. So hideous.”
While another wrote: “I can’t believe someone would agree to put a thin person into this costume for Matilda the musical. The original was already fat phobic enough but now they put Emma Thompson into a fat suit.”
However, many fans were quick to defend the actress.
One said: “If Emma Thompson wants to wear a fat suit & be Mrs Trunchball bring it on… Come on people. Things are getting really nuts. It’s acting.”
Another wrote: “It’s acting – the art or occupation of performing fictional roles in plays, films, or television… #GMB why is this even a debate? Nothing wrong with Emma Thompson wearing a fat suit to play a character, it’s literally her job!!”
Thompson has not responded to the criticism.
The original Roald Dahl character is described as a muscular female former Olympic hammer-thrower with a ‘bull neck, big shoulders, thick arms, and powerful legs’.
In light of that, fans have also argued in defence of Thompson that the remake shows her in a muscle suit to give her the “formidable” presence.
“Really disheartening to see such a beautiful woman having to go to such measures for a role,” another echoed.
“Either hire a fat actor (they exist! Really! They could even have A-list careers if you’d actually cast them in fat roles instead of giving them to thin actors in bad makeup!) or just make Trunchbull thin. It’s a stereotypical fat role anyway,” someone else suggested.
While a fourth shared: “Honestly, I thought we were getting more progressive as a society. But this is just backwards. So hideous.”
Thompson has yet to respond to the criticism.
Matilda The Musical will be released in UK cinemas on 2 December.
Watch: New trailer for Matilda The Musical